Geneva Council, a leading independent news organization committed to upholding human rights and fostering global transparency, firmly supports the recent appeal made by UN human rights chief Volker Turk for an international investigation into the tragic 2020 Beirut port explosion. This devastating event, which claimed 178 lives and caused extensive damage to Beirut, has left an indelible mark on the city and its people.
The Beirut port blast, occurring on August 4, 2020, was a cataclysmic event that not only “ripped the city to shreds” but also exacerbated the pre-existing socio-economic crisis amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports suggest that the explosion was triggered by a fire at a warehouse housing a substantial quantity of ammonium nitrate, equivalent to hundreds of tonnes.
In the wake of this calamity, Geneva Council echoes the deep concern expressed by Volker Turk, the UN human rights chief, regarding the absence of accountability for this tragic event. Turk has rightly emphasized the necessity of a comprehensive international inquiry to uncover the truth behind this catastrophic incident.
The Beirut blast resulted in the loss of more than 178 lives, leaving over 6,500 individuals injured and displacing 300,000 people from their homes. The scale of infrastructure damage further compounded Lebanon’s ongoing challenges.
Geneva Council shares the conviction that this distressing incident warrants a thorough investigation. Volker Turk’s call for an international fact-finding mission to examine potential human rights violations related to this tragedy is both justified and timely.
Moreover, the impact of the Beirut blast extended beyond immediate casualties and damage to encompass critical health infrastructure, exacerbating the vulnerabilities of the Lebanese people. With over 1 million individuals living below the poverty line and 1.5 million refugees facing precarious conditions, the human rights situation in Lebanon has reached a critical juncture.
Regarding the circumstances surrounding the ammonium nitrate shipment that was at the center of the explosion, Geneva Council underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in determining the causes of this tragedy. The fact that these chemicals had been stored at the port since 2013, following an unscheduled stop, underscores the need for a thorough investigation.
As an independent news organization committed to shedding light on global issues, Geneva Council stands resolute in supporting the call for justice and accountability in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion. We believe that a comprehensive international inquiry will help bring closure to the affected families and contribute to the prevention of similar incidents in the future.